Big October for OUWB medical students as they volunteer across the community

OUWB medical students had a busy October, volunteering throughout the community to help the school work toward the primary goal set out in its foundations of success.

Target?

“To develop compassionate clinicians who are dedicated to improving the health of their communities” – Part 1 of the recently updated OUWB mission statement.

In October alone, students worked toward the goal in various ways: organizing the Pontiac Community Health Fair. Participate in a community baby shower in Detroit, help clean up trash from the street; raise funds for breast cancer education and support; and more.

It’s not finished either: School Makes a Difference Day is set for October 22, and students will volunteer with organizations throughout Metro Detroit.

Such opportunities are integral to a medical student’s education, said Trixy Hall, coordinator of Graduate Programs and Community Outreach, OUWB.

“As clinicians of the future, these settings allow for one-on-one conversations and interactions that help develop a better understanding of how people live and the challenges they may face when it comes to their health,” Hall said.

“Doctors serve a very diverse group of people,” she added. “Our goal is to connect our students to as many communities as possible to learn about different cultures and ethnicities that will help frame the care they will provide as they begin their careers.”

Here is a breakdown of some of the activities that have taken place so far this month:

Light the Path: Beaumont Sharing and Sponsoring Fundraising Campaign

Photo of OUWB students preparing the stars
Emily Babcock and Madison Romansky put the final touches on the star lineup on October 13.

This event was a partnership between two student organizations at OUWB – the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and the Oncology Concern Group (OncIG). Between the Light the Path event and the fundraiser night, groups you’ve raised over $1,000 for Beaumont to share and care Breast cancer education and support.

For the Light the Path event, the groups teamed up to sell personalized stars set by the University of Auckland’s Elliott Tower at dusk on October 13.

Luminaries are sold for $6 each via the Beaumont Sharing & Caring website. Those who purchased the stars were able to add messages through the site. Medical students from OUWB took the letters and wrote them on the stars before placing them next to the tower.

Many of the letters were from people who had had breast cancer.

“We want to show the impact in the community and this is a really good visual way to do that,” said Madison Romansky, M2, Head of Community Service and Finance, AMWA.

Emily Babcock, M2, president of AMWA, shared similar sentiments.

“It brings a lot of humanity to the cancer experience, and remember that this is something that people face throughout their lives and not just when they are in the hospital,” she said.

Amwa Women’s Rights Gathering – In Memory

A picture of people at the Amwa pool
The assembly acknowledged the legacy of an Iranian woman who died after she was arrested and beaten by Iran’s “moral police.”

On October 12, the AMWA branch of OUWB hosted another event – a rally to recognize the legacy of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died after being detained and beaten by Iran’s “moral police” for allegedly violating hijab laws.

The gathering was held at noon at the Elliott Tower at the University of Auckland. About ten students, staff and faculty from OUWB attended.

Babcock noted that women in Iran “face a lot of oppression”.

They fight for a lot of basic rights, like the rights to use social media. “Everything is being pushed down,” she said.

Babcock said that those who are able need to speak out and “keep on raising their bar”.

“As a medical community, we have always wanted to enhance our humanity and enhance the humanity of students,” Babcock said.

Inayat Al-Hajj Hussein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Foundation Medical Studies

As a woman from the Middle East, I support what we are doing here today. They have the moral police for women and not the moral police for men. This is very biased.”

WIN NETWORK: Baby Showers in a Detroit Community

A picture of the volunteers at the community baby reception
Ekaterina Clark, M2, (second from left) with other volunteers at a community baby shower.

The American Medical Association OUWB has teamed up with the Women’s Inspired Neighborhood Network (WIN): Detroit of Henry Ford Health for a baby shower in the Detroit community on October 8.

Ekaterina Clark, M2, chair of community service, AMA, said she met with WIN network representatives to plan a community baby shower for the women in the longitudinal prenatal program.

The main components of the event were the distribution of resources and information, as well as important items needed to take care of their child.

“I specifically wanted to designate Detroit-based organizations to provide education on key topics, so that women in the prenatal care program feel they are receiving longitudinal support within their community,” Clark said.

Participating community organizations were: Baby Safe Sleep, Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBA), Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color, Special Children’s Health Care Services, Brilliant Detroit, Cradle Me Care Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP), and COVID ends here. Virginia Ollie, PhD, associate professor in the OUWB Department of Foundational Medical Studies, Introduction to Nutrition.

In her role as director of community service with the Michigan Medical Association, Clark has recruited 14 medical students from OUWB and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

In addition, funding was received from the AMA Division Participation Grant, the Oakland County Medical Association, and the OUWB Compass and Objective. $1,650 worth of items such as car seats and baby diapers were purchased with grant money.

“It was a pleasure to see how practical this event had impacted the lives of the women in the antenatal care program and their families,” Clark said. “I have strived to ensure that this event is guided by the specific needs of the community and provides women with a longitudinal link to easily accessible organizations. They were able to get the resources and items they needed for their child, while communicating with each other.”

SMO hosts the Pontiac Health Fair

Building on its commitment to serving the Pontiac community, Street Medicine Oakland hosted the Pontiac Health Show on October 7 at the Baldwin Center. (The event took place two weeks later SMO cooperated with EMS group (EMIG) to clean up trash in the downtown Pontiac area.)

The event was held both indoors and outdoors and featured five student organizations from OUWB and five groups from outside the OUWB community. Visitors can get influenza/Covid vaccinations from the Oakland County Health Department, participate in basic health checks, learn more about nutrition, how to handle health emergencies, and more.

A total of 28 community members benefited from the health fair.

Meaghan Race, M2, co-chair, Street Medicine, said planning began in the summer but the idea for a health fair has been in the works for longer.

The overall goal, she said, is to “bridging the gap in areas that show needs and desires.”

Syliva Kashat, M2, president of EMIG, said her organization is training Narcan, teaching people how to use the EpiPen, and distributing drug disposal kits.

“When you live in certain circumstances, you don’t get the proper education on how to protect yourself,” she said. “What we’re here for is to help protect the community and make sure they don’t get infected.”

Reese said these kinds of goals are exactly why the health fair is an extension of Street Medicine Auckland’s services.

“It really opens up a dialogue with the community,” she said. “Going out and talking to people about what actually affects their health. For example, instead of throwing diabetes medication on someone, we might be able to identify issues that the diet is causing.”

“It’s all about awareness and education,” she added.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu.

To request an interview, visit OUWB Communications & Marketing web page.

Notice: Unless otherwise noted, all articles are published within a file CC License 3.0. You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, transmit or use this work commercially as long as you attribute the William Beaumont College of Medicine, University of Auckland as the original creator and include a link to this article.

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